How You Stay Healthy in a Life Crisis

sad face2A longtime GSG reader came to my 12 Steps to Whole Foods class recently. (Which I’m teaching again on June 6. In Orem, Utah.) She’s just been hit with a double whammy—literally the two biggest life stressors there are, all at once. An unfaithful spouse and consequent divorce…and loss of a full-term baby.

She’s depressed, devastated—and those around her have no idea what to say. Or how to support. Her children are reeling, too.

My background as a therapist (my advanced degree is in social work) merges with my nutrition background, which merge with my own similar challenges in life. That explains my next comments…..

She asked me how I survived my own crisis related to losses much like hers. I told her, “The main thing is, I never let go of my nutrition, and some basic self-care. Sure, take care of the kids, but put the oxygen mask on yourself first! Yoga is non-negotiable. Ditto running. So is a daily quart of green smoothie, and no free-fall into junk food hell. Show up at social events. Even if you’re not feeling it…just go anyway. You’ll get through it, and be happy again—and those things will help. Depression lies to you and tells you it’s permanent. There IS happiness on the other side of this, and I found it, and so will you. It’s just hard to visualize it right now.”

self careI checked out with her if she’s doing X, Y, and Z, to make sure she’s functional instead of spiraling downward, and I learned she’s let go of some important self-care that will get her through. I asked her if, before she went to bed that night, would she just text me that she made a list of the things she’d LIKE to be doing, if she weren’t so depressed.

She did so, that night. It’s a starter step.

I’ve been through those biggest life stressors—divorce, and loss of a child. (Though mine were just several miscarriages—not loss of a full term baby. It’s also important to note I wasn’t married to a cheater, and my divorce was my choice. Thus, both of her losses dwarf my own, not that anyone wants to compare. Hard to imagine hers as worse, since both were devastating for me. My heart is hurting, for this GreenSmoothieGirl friend.)

I hope you’ll take note of this, if you’re suffering, too. I’ve climbed out of some of the hardest things people go through, things I’ve talked about on this blog, and things I haven’t. The mighty little green smoothie has everything to do with HOW.

love yourselfI hope when life hits you hard—as it does, now and then—that you tend to these important things:

  1. Your self-care is more important now than ever.
  2. Always get your endorphins—break a sweat every day, however that looks for you.
  3. Do yoga. Period. I mean it. You’re literally wringing toxins out of your nervous system.
  4. Pray, or meditate, or both.
  5. Drink a quart of green smoothie a day—more greens, less fruit.
  6. Avoid sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and other things that exacerbate depression.
  7. Find things to be grateful for, and turn your thoughts to those, every day.

If you’re in a really tough place, right now, please make a list of this kind of coping, rebuilding, and self-love stuff you know you need to be doing. Tape it to your mirror and don’t take it down until you’re doing all of it.

LOVE to you. I’m praying for you.

Whole Foods and Depression, Tori’s Story. Part 2 of 2

Robyns Grandma-uncle

“Marilyn Peterson Openshaw, Robyn’s grandmother, in her early 20’s, with her second son Ronald”

This story is worth your time to read.

It made me cry, both when I first read it, and again when I sat down with it to craft it into a blog entry to share with you.

It moved me because, on its own, it’s a gorgeous story. It’s also very close to my heart, because both my paternal grandmother, and my paternal great grandmother, took their own lives at the same age, 33. My grandmother put a bullet in her brain. My great grandmother jumped off a bridge.

Because of this, I never had the chance to know them. I have seen only two photos of my grandmother. I have stared at them for hours. My face looks like hers, and I am built like her. Sharp facial features, thin but curvy. (This was helpful to know, as I’m built like no one else in my family.)

Robyns Dad
“Robert G. Openshaw, Robyn’s dad, as a young boy”

Depression robbed me, and my 15 paternal cousins and siblings, of ever meeting her. More importantly, it left my dad, who was standing in a crosswalk fulfilling his crossing-guard duties at the time Marilyn got the gun out, motherless at the tender age of my son Tennyson. Just 12. I don’t know what my dad was like at that age, but Tennyson still climbs in my lap, every single day.

Please enjoy Tori’s story. Most of it I have quoted in her own words (name changed to protect sensitive details).

mask depressionThree years ago, Tori was at a very low point in her life. She’s a beautiful, young, fit blonde woman who looks like she has life by the tail. She had been struggling with crippling depression, and for 5 years had been on an obscene amount of mood stabilizers and anti-depressants. The meds caused her headaches, grinding teeth, the sensation of her skin crawling, and feeling slow, unemotional, and unable to concentrate.

antidepressant2_090128_mnHer doctor helped her up the dosage, change the dosage, change brands. Tori calls it “an experiment from hell.” But like so many of the rest of us, she says, “I didn’t know what else to do.” She went to therapy. She’d have okay days. Then she’d have weeks or months where she was preoccupied with taking her own life, and she came dangerously close to suicide at least twice. She cut herself constantly.

She said to me, “I HATED ME.”

And Tori is a young mother of two small children.

She carried a photo of them with her, and that is the only thing, she said, that kept her alive: “I didn’t want to die and leave them motherless. But I wanted to give up because I thought nothing was ever going to change and that I would always feel this way. Miserable.”

“I was searching for alternatives when I found your blog. I read it with interest, but wasn’t sure I wanted to blend a salad and drink it. How could that really work? Your blog seemed to tell me it would help, though. Just my luck, I saw that you were coming to the Seattle area in a few months, so I put it on my calendar. I was eager to see you.

spinach stuck in teeth“In between that time, I did make myself a green smoothie in my crappy blender and choked down chunks of it, and my husband swore it was the worst thing ever. I didn’t blame him, as I witnessed spinach leaves attached to his teeth and watched him chew his smoothie. I wasn’t sure this was for me, and it didn’t help that my husband was scoffing at the cost of a Blendtec.”

“I invited some friends to your seminar—and that day, each one canceled. I was very sad and wasn’t sure I wanted to go alone. But I wanted out of the house, and I drove there.

“I was at rock bottom that day. As I was driving the freeway, I saw the embankments and thought to myself, ‘I wonder how fast I would need to go, to fly off that, and be dead rather than injured?’ I did not want to live anymore.

“As you spoke about your own family’s story, with your son, your own health, and your grandmother’s story, I was blown away by the positive effects this way of life could have on someone. I was slightly hopeful, but also overwhelmed at the thought of getting my family off the S.A.D. diet and onto what you were talking about. But I listened—I actually LAUGHED (!!!)—throughout your lecture. You made me smile and enjoy being there learning.

“I thought about buying the 12 Steps to Whole Foods program, but I wasn’t sure, and planned to look at it, at the end of class. You were giving prizes away all night, and a few came very close to my number. Then you came to the grand prize, the Blendtec, and I could see that everyone was smiling and sitting on the edge of their seats. I had very little hope of winning, as that kind of thing just doesn’t happen to me. Yet you slowly read the numbers and……

totalblender-200x300“IT WAS MINE! I WON THE BLENDER!

“I was shocked and speechless, and I think I tried to throw a ‘yippee!’ out there, so you would know how thankful I was, but I’m sure it wasn’t loud enough. I couldn’t believe it. I was stunned.

“By the time I got through the crowd at the end of your talk, your 12 Steps program was sold out. But I ordered it online that night, and it was to arrive soon. I did purchase The Green Smoothies Diet, as well as The Adventures of Junk Food Dude. My kids LOVE that book, and can I tell you how many times they have selected that book to bring in for Show-N-Tell, or write a book report on, or “Bring a Book to School Day?”

“When I got home, I showed my husband what I won, but he thought I’d stopped and bought it at Costco! I told him it was true, I really WON it, and that I was going to make him a REAL smoothie in the morning. It was a simple first effort. But it was smooth, frothy, and delicious! He was so impressed that he asked me to put them in Mason jars so he could take them to work.

“I went off and bought greens I’d never used before and didn’t know what to do with. Kale, swiss chard, and…..what the heck, dandelion greens?!

“In the following months, I was still working with my doctor on meds, and still in therapy. But I also started adding in green smoothies. I love vegetables, but getting ‘in the habit’ with my busy day was a challenge. So I committed to 3 days a week. After the first month, it became 4 days a week, then 5, and now we are up to 6+ days a week drinking the amount of green smoothie you suggest.

“I started educating myself. Went to a naturopath and talked to her about diet and mood. She helped me with a full checkup and some supplement tweaks.

“Slowly I went off my medications. Each time I’d try before, it was a terrible experience. Dizziness, nausea, deepening depression, restlessness. I never wanted to go through that again.

“After a few experiments with natural supplements, I found a combo that worked. And all the while, I was still just drinking green smoothies. Of course my naturopath supported this!

happy chalkboard face“With a healthy breakfast in my belly, I started to WANT to eat a healthy lunch and then a healthy dinner. I lost 15 lbs without trying. I got a dog and walked more. My energy improved. I started to actually sleep, rather than toss and turn for hours. My joints stopped hurting. I felt smarter and could concentrate. I smiled more. I realized I WAS BECOMING HAPPIER!

“About 10 months ago, I completely went off the supplements from my naturopath to see how I’d do. They weren’t bad for me, but I didn’t want to feel tied to them. I’m drug-free to this day. I still have days when I feel down, but it’s never been that dark, dark hole that I was in for a very long time. I have learned how to manage these moods in a more mindful and positive way.

“I know green smoothies aren’t the cure-all to depression. But I really believe it was the kick start. I attribute the green smoothie to better health and well being. I feel BALANCED now!

images-6“I love not only my morning green smoothie, but also your Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie, and lots of things my kids and I create in the Blendtec. I don’t eat completely raw or plant based, but I have made steps, and I will continue to take more. We got rid of cow’s milk, almost all processed foods, and we have 3 nights a week that are meatless. Small steps are getting me there.

“I make soups, salad dressings, hummus, almond butter, ice cream, and of course smoothies in my blender. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your lentil soup recipe, which is a savior for me getting through the dark Seattle fall, winter, and spring. Our meals have never looked so pretty and colorful!

hope“That night in Seattle was a turning point for me, and I believe someone was watching over me that night. Yes, I walked out the door with the blender. But what I later came to realize was that I walked out that evening with the gift of HOPE. The gift of LIFE. The chance to be the wife, mom, friend, daughter, and sister that I deserve to be.

“I truly believe if I didn’t go that evening, I wouldn’t be here anymore. Robyn, you gave me a new way of looking at life. One green smoothie every morning. To start. It was something I began to look forward to. It helped me fight through the day, to make it to that next morning, when I could continue my commitment to my family. At last, I was doing something good for me. I was nourishing my body and pampering my soul.

“Thank you, Robyn, for the gifts you give to so many who attend your seminars!! You really are a blessing to me, and I am so grateful I came to meet you. You have a gift and I appreciate you sharing years of knowledge with us so we can stop this unhealthy way of life and give our children a chance.”

Depression and Anxiety Nutrition Strategies, part 2 of 3

1.      Are you getting enough greens? They contain the most bioavailable minerals of all foods. Bioavailable refers how much of the nutrient is actually utilized by your body, as opposed to how much of that nutrient is in the food. (For instance, dairy milk is high in calcium. But human beings use very little of it, and the milk from cows causes other problems, for instance, it causes the human body to produce mucous. For baby cows, the calcium in their mothers’ milk is VERY bioavailable.)

Living green foods have to be plentiful in the human diet. Our digestive tracts, the way they’re built, demand lots of plant food. And all the nutrients in greens are highly bioavailable to humans. Cows, too, it turns out. Jordan Rubin is raising “green cows,” who not only eat only organic plant food, but eat GREENS rather than grains and other weird additives to increase weight that the big farms are now feeding dairy and slaughter cattle. Greens are what cows in nature eat, and the quality of the cows’ milk changes radically when they’re fed something else. Even organic dairy ranchers aren’t going to the length that Rubin is, to create a food supply that our grandparents took for granted, before we morphed our food supply chain into a Frankenstein-ish disaster.

In my research published in The Green Smoothies Diet, half of my 175 respondents said green smoothies alone improved the stability of their mood.

2.      Are you eating 60-80% raw or better? I am not convinced that 100% raw is necessary or even ideal, but a diet high in unprocessed, raw foods gives you enzymes that take little away from your higher functions so that you can achieve truly transcendent states, like peace, happiness, harmony in relationships, and self-actualization.

Patty, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 7 years ago at age 40, has been living with us for a month and making our food, according to the way we have always eaten. We eat cooked soups made with vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. In addition to lots of raw in the form of green smoothies, vegetable juice, salads, and just snacking on carrots, bell peppers, etc. Patty is used to the obsession, on the other side, with RAW, RAW, RAW.

I love raw food and EVERY meal or snack around here is 60-80% raw. Count it in the bulk of the food, or count it in calories, I don’t care—but eat a primarily raw, plant-based diet. But humans have rarely eaten “all raw,” and legumes and whole grains are good food and very difficult to eat much of, unless they’re cooked. It’s a natural human tendency to want their food hot, now and then.

Patty said to me, “I feel amazing, eating your diet!” It’s not 100% raw, but it is 100% whole foods, and well over half of what we eat is raw.

I’m not absolutely convinced that eating organic, wild-caught, or free-range meat is all bad, as a smaller part of the diet. I don’t personally want those things, or prepare and serve them in my home.

And when the economy falls out—which it will, since it’s mathematically unsustainable that we continue forever the way we’re going—and you have to pay $40/lb. for your meat, what will you eat? Best to just learn to eat like that anyway. The U.S. government massively props up meat and dairy. It doesn’t prop up vegetable, fruit, and legume crops. Obviously we’re paying less than we should for beef, if it takes 20 lbs. of plant food to yield 1 lb. of beef.

3.      If you ARE eating meat, please ensure it is wild-caught fish from clean waters (not farmed, and not caught in dirty places like, no offense my Michiganian friends, the Great Lakes). Or range-free, organic chicken or turkey. Or grass-fed, organic beef. NEVER processed meat or dairy. It’s full of hormones. It surely has the potential to affect mood disorders.

4.      Are you staying out of the drive-thru? Virtually everything sold there puts you at high risk for depression. Even the toxic dressings on the low-nutrition salads. Not only because of low nutrition, high calorie foods, with their cascading effects.

But also the fact that they are denatured and your body has to work excessively to digest them. This takes away from higher functions, like neurological function. This results in a far higher likelihood that your brain and spirit are brought low, too, even as their host, the physical tabernacle, is forced to struggle and toil. Possibly the worst thing coming out of the drive-thru are toxic, heavy fats, which are difficult to metabolize, in some cases impossible to metabolize, and cause cell damage.

And the fried foods you buy in the grocery store have got to go, too. Chips. Gone. Please.

The last five items in this Nutrition Strategies for Depression and Anxiety list, tomorrow!

Depression and Anxiety Nutrition Strategies, part 1 of 3

My friend Shari called me last week. “Guess what. My friend Emily was totally normal, and has been in mental hospitals for 12 years now. They found out a few months ago that it was the MEDS they started her on that made her crazy. She’s been off them for two months and she’s just FINE.”

What a tragedy. Shari continues, ”Twelve years ago, she had two men who wanted to marry her. College-bound. Totally normal. She had everything going for her. But they put her on one drug after another and she was suicidal and psychotic.”

I’m a former mental health professional and have a master’s degree in social work. So let me make this disclaimer: you don’t want to go off your psychotropic drugs without careful supervision. Emily’s experience is not everyone’s experience. I bet her getting off those drugs was careful and gradual. Psychotropics are no laughing matter, and the transition ON or OFF can be scary.

Some of them are class C narcotics, and others are narcotic central nervous system depressants. SSRI’s, the most commonly prescribed, cause sexual dysfunction, increased risk of bone fractures, drowsiness, nausea, weight loss or gain, renal impairment, suicidal thoughts, and other symptoms. And, two meta-analyses of dozens of clinical trials (2008, 2010) for those drugs did not meet the criteria for a “clinically significant effect.”

For people upside down in a mental health crisis, a drug may be a lifesaver. People who want to kill themselves don’t have the wherewithal to sit down and problem-solve the actual life circumstances that seem overwhelming, let alone make major dietary and lifestyle changes.

But is the prescription a lifelong crutch, rather than a temporary sanity-saving measure while you figure out the actual PROBLEM and solve it? That I have an issue with. I know plenty of people who have been on psychotropics for a decade with no effort by them or their doc to solve the problems.

I also take issue with the dispense-it-for-every-little-complaint M.O. of too many docs. It should be a temporary, desperate act, putting someone on these hard-core drugs, while the doc helps get at the core causation. Not a first line of defense at the first sign of trouble!

The following discussion are my thoughts and should not be construed as medical advice. Please see your qualified practitioner for individualized help with depression or anxiety.

Mental health has its roots in biochemistry. And food is the fuel of our biochemistry, of course, causing it stability or instability. Does it not, then, make sense, that food can play a major role in good mental health?

It certainly has, in mine. I was born anxious. Oldest child. Type A. Red personality. Overachieving stereotype. All that stuff.

As a small child, I had stressed- out, sobbing meltdowns if I got a B on my report card or made a mistake in a piano performance. If I let someone down, or if someone didn’t like me.

I have struggled with anxiety my whole life. It is completely managed and no longer costs me sleep or causes any trouble. The past 10 years, it is where I want it. It is a good thing, when it is managed. That is: it fuels my constant drive to build things, learn and grow, help good causes, and GO-GO-GO. My anxiety no longer makes me cry or wrecks my well-being.

The only exception, before I QUIT COLD TURKEY, used to be when I’d eat sugar, or especially corn syrup. Eating something with HFCS in it sets me back for days—I wake up having panic attacks for 5 days after eating a handful of Junior Mints!

Why? Because sugar burns out adrenal glands, and virtually everyone living in the modern age has heavily taxed adrenal glands even WITHOUT sugar.

So let’s talk about things you can do, nutritionally, if you suffer with depression or anxiety. I start a nine-item list in my next blog entry.

 

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl,

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl,

My thank you is long past-due.  I came to your class at the Herb Shop in Orem back in May of 2010.  I was hoping to find a way to help my two-year-old son eat vegetables, smoothy-style, but, I didn’t at all bargain for how I would change. 

At first, I was wary.  What you said about meat, dairy, sugar, etc. was so drastically different from the habits I’d been taught…and I thought I was a healthy person.  There was so much I’d taken for granted with what I put into my body.  I knew foods that came from the ground were good for you, I just didn’t have any idea what a difference basing your diet around them could make.

A few months after starting green smoothies and jumping into any of the 12 steps I could, all at once, I felt empowered.  For the first time as a mother, I knew how to nourish my children.

That said, swimming against our food culture’s “current,” learning how to buy and prepare food again, dealing with food addictions– especially sugar, has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  At times, it’s been almost overwhelmingly discouraging.  But, I keep with it because, it’s worth it. 

The best physical representation I have of that is my ten-month-old daughter.  Struggling with depression since I became a mother, I was done having children after three.  Now I am the happy mother of four– to me, our new baby daughter feels like the direct result of my transformation from living the whole-foods diet you taught me.  Thank you, thank you.

I can’t say enough good about the 12 Steps to Whole Foods.  Your course is so well-thought out and organized to help people be successful in improving their diet– one step at a time, in perfect order.  I’m so grateful that you are willing to speak out and risk yourself for us.  I’m so grateful for how you’ve shared your knowledge, your life, your successes and things you’ve learned along the way.  Thank you for being a grounded, voice of moderation in the health food world that I trust.

Rachel

Attached is a picture of the most delicious thing in our life right now. Yum!

Thyroid—you might have a problem and not know it

All estimates I’ve read are that 25 to 50 percent or more of American women have significant thyroid issues. Possibly over half of women over 40. Most of these women are undiagnosed. If you have low thyroid, which is the most common thyroid problem, symptoms may be low energy, slow metabolism / weight gain, dry skin, bags under your eyes, fatigue, hair loss, depression, poor circulation, low immune function, and insomnia.

My best friend since childhood, on the other hand, has the “auto-immune” condition of hyperthyroidism, which is just as miserable. Her thyroid is always revved and overproducing. She goes the drug route. The symptoms are a racing heartbeat, weight loss, increase or decrease in appetite, insomnia, fatigue, diarrhea, mental disturbance, infertility, thinning hair, itching and hives, heat intolerance, and tremors / shakiness.

All the endocrine disruptors in the environment and food supply affect thyroid function. Don’t eat soy! Don’t expose yourself to pesticides, or plastics, or heavy metals. Avoid drugs, alcohol, and unchecked stress.

Doctors will likely put you on synthetic hormone. Remember that the drug thyroid is not bioidentical to the thyroid produced in your body. It’s been molecularly altered, each drug different from each other, to earn a patent.

If you find a clinic that specializes in bioidentical hormone, the cost is far less, and your body can assimilate and utilize the hormone effectively, like the hormone your own thyroid produces.

I spent four years on a synthetic thyroid drug, many years ago, before I knew any better. It helped me drop the 40 lbs. I’d gained in a year since I became hypothyroid. But it increased my risk for cancer. I happily transitioned to bioidentical and have been on it ever since. Recently I went completely off thyroid to test whether perhaps my good diet compensated, and maybe I could produce hormone effectively by myself.

The good news is, my baseline was much better than it was 10 years ago when I first was tested. The bad news is, I got ugly bags under my eyes. I made some videos last summer in Denver when I was completely off thyroid, and I can’t even look at them. Ugly. My body makes about 60% of the thyroid I need. I take a few drops of nascent iodine each day, now, and my bioidentical thyroid keeps me happy and balanced.

You can read whole books on the thyroid phenomenon by Mary Shomon, a bestselling author. Too many women are hypothyroid and going without treatment. Remember to google “bioidentical hormone” rather than starting with the standard M.D.’s practice of automatic drug-oriented HRT (hormone replacement therapy).

And remember, having an M.D. check you for T3 will not give you the whole answer. When I gained 40 lbs. because I was very hypothyroid in my mid-30’s, I was tested for that and the doc told me it was “normal.” I knew I was NOT feeling normal, but what was I to do?

You must get the full blood panel and have a highly specialized bioidentical practitioner look at the interplay of T3, T4, progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, and a variety of co-factors. When I did that, my life changed dramatically because they could treat my whole body, rather than just drug one element, throwing other critical elements into imbalance.

If you’re feeling healthy but want to make sure you’re getting enough iodine, using refined salt with chemical, synthetic iodine enrichment, is harmful. If you want ways to get more natural, bioavailable iodine in your diet, to enhance your body’s ability to make and utilize thyroid hormone?

Talk to your holistic practitioner about whether you should take nascent iodine (available online, google it) or Lugol’s solution (prescription). My practitioner had me paint a 1”x1” patch of my inner forearm with drugstore iodine, and if it disappeared in an hour, she said that was a sign my body needs iodine. (However, I believe others dispute this test as valid.)

Food-based sources are kelp (which you can take in tablets, or it’s a wonderful salt replacement seasoning), or dulse, or nori sheets (seaweed). Those are high-iodine sea vegetables. If you take too much, you would notice being jittery, anxious, shaky, so if so, you could back off those foods. But generally, you’d have to eat an awful lot of sea vegetables to create an imbalance.

Read Sarah’s inspiring story about a year of green smoothies!

Today I share a letter we got recently. As reply to this blog entry, tell me—what happened to you when you (a) started drinking green drinks daily, and/or (b) started following my program to shift to whole foods? (There’s more! Don’t stop with just green smoothies!)

I think it’s important that people hear YOUR story, too, so please reply! I would love even a few lines listing the health changes you saw. I might pull a reply or two out, later, to post on the blog front-n-center.

I’m always so excited to read these testimonials; CONGRATS to Sarah for turning her life around! The photo here is of Sarah with Biggest Loser at-home winner Deni Hill from Season 11—Sarah taught her about green smoothies.

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl:

I’m writing this in hopes that Robyn can read this and know how much I appreciate her and what she does!  My name is Sarah S. and I have been drinking green smoothies for just over a year now.  It has played a HUGE part in helping me manage my depression and my thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s).

I have a bachelors degree in Community Health and have been an avid cyclist for 10 years. But that all changed two years ago after the birth of my son.  My son cried constantly and my health started to decline.  I was sleep deprived, had no energy, and felt hopeless.  I hardly ate, and when I did, it wasn’t healthy.  I was spiraling downward.  I was diagnosed with post-partum depression and nine months after he was born I had a breakdown and had to be admitted to the hospital for a few days. On top of the depression I also was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, which played a large part in my depression and my fluctuations in sleep and mood.

Two months after my hospitalization I started nannying for the Jorgensen family, a dentist and GSG reader.  Through her I learned about Robyn and green smoothies.  The first thing I would do with the kids in the morning is help them drink their green smoothies.  They were still getting used to them then.  I decided to give it a try.  I started out with just a spinach, frozen berry and rice milk smoothie.

Just a couple days after trying it I noticed a significant improvement in how I felt.  I bought kale, chard and collard greens to add to it.

Now, a year later I’ve added chia seed, maca powder, kelp powder, wheat germ, flax seed, and now all three of us drink a green smoothie daily.

We rarely get sick, we’re active and happy.  Dosages of my depression and thyroid meds have been cut in half.  I honestly believe that it was green smoothies that helped me get a jumpstart into eating healthy again.  Once I started drinking them regularly I started craving healthier foods again.  Now, most of our meals are vegetarian and always full of fruits and vegetables.

Whenever the opportunity presents itself I encourage people to give it a try.  Or I make one for them and bring it to them.  I tell them if they’re overwhelmed with trying to reform their whole diet, or if they are depressed, or if they are overweight, then try green smoothies!  It was THE KEY to helping me get motivated to eat and crave healthier foods and manage my depression.

I’m also happy to report that after 3 months of green smoothies every morning, I was ready to start competing again.  I signed up for the Bear Lake Brawl Triathlon.  My training went great and in August of 2011 I met my goal!  I even finished in the top 10 in my division.  I owe much of my success in that race to green smoothies.

Since that race I have competed in two other triathlons and am signed up for two more this summer.  I also became spin certified a few months ago and teach a spinning class at a local bike shop twice a week.  I am SO SO grateful for Robyn and what she promotes.  It has changed my life.   I can literally feel all of the systems in my body working properly together.  I have felt a significant improvement in my ability to handle the ups and downs of depression.   I am happier and healthier.  I feel much more confident about life and my ability to live an active and healthy lifestyle in spite of the challenges that will come.  I’m a better mother, wife and friend.  I don’t feel like my depression or thyroid disease controls me, I’m on top of it.

Robyn, may you continue to be blessed for all you are doing to help other people!  You are an answer to prayer in my life.  You are a wonderful person and a fantastic mother!  Thank you thank you for your hard work and example!  Thank you!

–Sarah S.

From Robyn: I hope you’re inspired by Sarah’s story. I am! Now…please tell us YOURS. I read every word.

 

More on mercury amalgam and other dental controversies….dentists weighing in….part 2 of 7

I got back last week from my Northern Cali speaking tour and went right to Dr. Ulm’s office right here in Lindon, Utah. He’s the first dentist in Utah accredited with the IAOMT (Intl Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology). Accreditation requires a rigorous examination of mercury-safe practices and demonstrated knowledge of materials, toxicity, fluoride, and nutrition.

Dental schools don’t teach holistic or biological dentistry. That’s the art of preserving teeth, conservative approaches, considering the health of the entire organism (rather than just a trouble spot in the mouth), and finding solutions that are gentler, integrative, and more natural.

Dr. Ulm does root canals, but much more selectively after other things fail, and in a different way. As it was described to me, he floods ozone in the root canals, which unlike bleach (used to kill organisms by traditional dentists), it can continue neutralizing bacteria over an extended period of time. Then he packs the roots with a highly alkaline material called calcium hydroxide to completely sterilize the tooth. Then after a few weeks, he uses ozone again.

His is a FLUORIDE FREE practice.  Dr. Ulm offers ozone treatment during cleanings as an alternative to fluoride.

He uses digital, collimated x-rays  for 70% less radiation. He does blood analysis to determine reactivity for a specific patient to dental materials. He is trained extensively in removal of mercury fillings safely. He uses high-powered vacuums, dental dams (latex are the only kind that are effective), and supplemental oxygen, for safety for the doctor, staff, patient, and environment.

My family will be switching to Dr. Ulm, and I am considering having my root canal teeth removed by Dr. Walls. These are exactly the kind of dentists I have never had.

My dentists are good, caring professionals. But they toe the line with the ADA’s recommendations to use dangerous chemicals and metals. Clearly they don’t know any better. (If they did, they wouldn’t put themselves at risk either—which is exactly what you are, if you’re packing mercury into people’s mouths every day.)

I have read too many books and studies, I guess: I simply don’t believe in general that more chemical exposure protects us from anything or enhances life or creates health. We are destroying the world with now over 80,000 chemicals in use.

A couple of readers commented when I began the dental topic a couple of weeks ago, that I should just chill out, that the dose makes the poison. My opinion is that some things are poison in any dose. “

All things in moderation” is a popular LDS (Mormon) scriptural reference. However, it does not mean we should eat, inject, or pack into our teeth…..arsenic in moderation, gasoline in moderation, or the second-most toxic element on the planet. (That’s what mercury is.) It means all GOOD things in moderation.

Dr. Ulm’s wife, Dana Robison, who manages his practice, is articulate and educated about the travesties in modern dental practices, and what the alternatives are. They have one of the only ozone machines for dental use in the state. Her husband was an associate in other practices, where he became increasingly concerned about how he had to remove amalgam fillings and dispose of them as hazardous waste. So he finally went out on his own, and sought specialized holistic training not offered in the traditional schools.

Keep in mind, Dana said, we aren’t talking about BIOHAZARDS, but actual HAZARDOUS WASTE. It’s too toxic for a landfill. It’s so toxic Dr. Ulm must use special materials, a mask, special procedures, as dictated by the FDA! No wonder Dr. Kulacz, author of The Roots of Disease, found himself suffering from low-grade depression that only went away when he went on two-week vacations—and then permanently when he banned mercury fillings from his practice.

More than one reader wrote us about the fact that dentists commit suicide at a higher rate than almost any other profession. Actually 6.64 times greater than the rest of the working-age population, according to researcher Steven Stack. He speculates it’s because they don’t have as much status as doctors. (Well, they still have far more social status than factory workers or garbage collectors—but those professions don’t have high suicide rates! And, doctors have a high suicide rate too.)

Others say it’s because people are afraid of dentists. What if it’s because depression is a common side effect of chronic mercury exposure?

Amazingly, even though the FDA has stringent rules for eliminating amalgam as a hazardous waste, it is somehow okay to pack this material into our teeth, right next to soft gums and brain tissue? Many fillings are compromised and eroding, one dentist told me, and the mercury is not completely bound by other elements in the filling as the dental organizations tell us.

Next I’m talking about a practice called Intentional Replantation, and then some comments from dentists I have received.

winner of katie thompson CD’s announced today :-)

Tomorrow, a photo journal of my OUTRAGEOUSLY AWFUL green-smoothie-drinking contest with Jillene last night!

But today….I was inspired by your stories (to win 2 Katie Thompson CD’s from my blog on April 18)!

Two of you wrote songs. Joni in Japan, 10 km from the tsunami, told us about her experience living through the disaster and feeding others around her.

Sharon told about hosting a dinner party using raw vegan 12 Steps recipes where her friends asked if they could lick their plates! GreenSmoothieGuy Gary told about helping his autistic son with good nutrition.

Health care workers shared their experience trying to help people. Several of you said sheepishly that you borrow my title of GreenSmoothieGirl at work. (It’s OUR title, my friends–consider yourself the Deputy!) Two of you told about taking a courageous path to beat cancer, including Kim Taylor, our winner, whose story is below. (And thank you to everyone who shared your phenomenal stories–read about them HERE!)

This story inspired me not only because of Kim’s own personal path, but also that she has taken it to greater heights helping others. Through her suffering, she’s created abundance and wellness for those around her. Love you, Kim! Here’s her story:

“I am the Green Smoothie Girl at work. I work for a dialysis center and a lot of our patients have Type 2 diabetes or high Blood Pressure that has caused their kidneys to fail. I have often thought that if these patients had done something 20 years ago with their diet that maybe they could have reversed the diagnosis and prevent the future diagnosis of kidney failure. My heart goes out to each and every one of them because they have to sit in a chair for 4 hours, 3 days a week with needles in their arm in order to live.

“I was diagnosed with hereditary Breast Cancer July ’09. I caught it extremely early. I chose to have my breasts removed and there were no signs that the cancer had spread, so chemo and radiation were not recommended. I felt that the Lord literally gave me my job so that I could literally learn from my patients. I was going to learn all that I could about diet and nutrition.

“There is a saying that when the student is ready the teacher will appear. I saw a car with GreenSmoothieGirl.com on it, and when I got home I went to Robyn’s website and ordered The Green Smoothies Diet.

“Everyone that knows me knows about green smoothies and the 12 Steps to Whole Foods. My whole family is on board with me and it is wonderful. I had the opportunity to teach a class on Green Smoothies to a group of Breast Cancer survivors July ’10 and demonstrate how easy it is to consume all those wonderful greens and fruit.

“A few months later my friend Judy called me the Green Smoothie Girl and thanked me for such a life-changing knowledge. I was so grateful that I was able to influence someone’s for the better. It truly felt great to be in your shoes for just a moment.

“There are so many wonderful benefits I personally have noticed since I have been drinking my smoothies: more energy, better sleep, better digestion, and my favorite is that I am happier. I wish that when a person goes to a doctor for depression that the doctor would suggest drinking green smoothies for 30 days and come back for a follow up appointment, before prescribing an antidepressant drug.

“I have taken back my personal well being and I will think twice before ever consuming another prescription drug again.”

Thank You,

Kim Taylor

depressing foods

Researchers at University College London published findings that eating processed, fatty food increases the risk of depression.

One group in the study of 3,486 people ate whole foods (mostly fresh vegetables, fruits, and fish) and the other ate fried food, processed meat, dairy, and desserts. Researchers controlled for factors like exercise and smoking, and even so, they found those with a processed diet had a 58 percent higher rate of depression.

Findings were published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Why? The study doesn’t know, so this is me making educated guesses. A clogged digestive tract (eating a low-fiber diet) leads to lower energy, which leads to an inability to complete tasks and discouragement.

Sugar and other processed food taxes and burns out the adrenals needed for stable mood.

Lack of micronutrients starves cells all the way to organs (brain, blood, bone, and more).

As blood pressure, constipation, energy depletion, enzyme depletion, weight creep, and hundreds of other issues compound, depression seems an almost inevitable result.